Mini Silicon Valley for Healthcare Sprouting in South Florida – Sun-Sentinel

Symplast was profiled by the Sun-Sentinel newspaper. The full article is below:


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‘Mini-Silicon Valley’ for health care sprouting in South Florida

Local IT industry getting noticed for medical innovations

June 21, 2014|By Nicole Brochu, Sun Sentinel

The doctor of the future has arrived, and his digital makeover has South Florida’s fingerprints all over it.

That’s what you get when you live in a region some are dubbing “a mini-Silicon Valley” for health-care innovation.

From prescriptions and X-rays to patient consultations and bill collection, the physician’s smartphone is doing it all, serving as a digital practice and usurping the stethoscope as the go-to accessory.

The doctor isn’t the only one to benefit from the way technology is tearing up the medical blueprint. Recent innovations also are connecting physician and patient like never before, allowing patients unprecedented access to their doctor and their own records while providing more efficient care.

“It not only makes the doctor’s life easier and the staff’s lives easier, it makes the patient’s life easier,” said Dr. Shashi Kusuma, a Plantation plastic surgeon who has designed a smartphone-based office management system fordoctors. “It allows them to interact with their doctor; there’s a reduction in errors. You don’t have to worry about waiting to get your records or not being able to pick them up after hours. It saves time and costs.”

Even The Wall Street Journal has taken notice, declaring in a May 30 article that the Miami area, once known for its beaches and club scene, “is adding a new distinction: tech hub.”

“South Florida is becoming a health-care software hub, a mini-Silicon Valley,” Kusuma said. “There are a whole bunch of software companies down here specializing in healthcare. It’s a burgeoning industry.”

The health end of that IT industry has created such a buzz that the Boca Raton-based South Florida Technology Alliance had a workshop last month that sought to answer a burning question: “What is it about South Florida that makes this the right time and place to grow a successful health-care technology company?”

The sun and sand help, allowing local companies to recruit some of the nation’s top talent, said Albert Santalo, a panelist at the alliance’s May 29 workshop. Then there’s the region’s status as one of the country’s top health-care marketplaces — in dollars spent per capita and in the size of the aging patient population, he said.

“There’s a significant amount of health-care technology that’s growing up in South Florida,” said Santalo, president and CEO of CareCloud in Miami, which uses a cloud-based system to help doctors manage their practices. Begun in 2009, CareCloud now boasts 6,000 doctor clients around the country.

Area medical schools — Nova Southeastern University in Davie, the University of Miami and Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton among them — also are churning out a top-drawer class of doctors, adding to the region’s standing as a world-class health system, said Vipul Katyal, CEO of My Vision Express in Weston, a cloud-based electronic records system specifically for eye doctors.

Such intellectual capital helps breed innovation, he said.

Count Kusuma among the innovators.

Inspired by how transformative devices like the iPhone and Google Glass have made everyday tasks easier, Kusuma developed Symplast, aided by local software companies like Plantation’s Chetu Inc. Like CareCloud, the platform works through a secure, web-based cloud, allowing doctors and their staff to do everything, including create patient charts, order and review lab work, photograph injured limbs, set appointments — even bill patients and collect payment. It’s instantaneous and accessible not only to the doctor and consulting physicians, but to the patient through a free smartphone app.

“This is the practice of the future,” said Kusuma, who is testing Symplast this month and plans to officially launch it in the fall. “My entire office is on me right now. My entire professional life is with me at all times, any time, anywhere in the world.”

Examples abound of local companies modernizing the standard delivery of health care using smartphone and other technology — to the benefit of doctor and patient.

GetMyRx, for example, runs a smartphone-based prescription delivery service in Miami-Dade and Broward counties that allows consumers to skip the trip to the pharmacy. Modernizing Medicine ofBoca Raton has created a web-based electronic records system that allows doctors to manage office and patient files from a tablet or laptop. And Sunrise-based MDLive allows patients to consult with doctors and therapists at any time of day or night by video or smartphone.